Cars parked in Nairobi
Cars parked in Nairobi

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday, November 4 arrested 3 people as part of an investigation into scams targeting car buyers.

The officers were acting on reports from two victims who had attempted to purchase vehicles on a leading e-commerce website.

The victims recounted how they were swindled and, in one case, assaulted after making payments to the purported car dealers. In both instances, the victims connected with the dealers after falling for online vehicle listings.

One of the three men arrested, Charles Kipsang’ Koech alias Ibrahim Merali, was accused of being the kingpin of the car-dealing syndicate.

The other two individuals taken into custody were Moses Owino Angelo, a lawyer, and one George Tsuma.

A car bazaar in Nairobi

According to the DCI, the operation is based in Mombasa although, given the nature of online transactions, the syndicate has a wide reach.

One victim filed a complaint at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Kasarani, Nairobi after coming face to face with the scammers.

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Interested in purchasing a Toyota Probox, he was led to a car yard along Ngong’ Road in Nairobi to view the car.

After being convinced of the vehicle’s condition and quality, he made the full payment. It was at this point that things took a turn for the worse.

The buyer was abducted before being bundled into a vehicle and driven to the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) where he was dumped.

The other victim told police that he paid a deposit via mobile money after viewing the car online and reaching an agreement with the seller.

The vehicle was, however, never delivered as expected causing him to file a report with the police.

The DCI appealed to other members of the public who had fallen victim to similar schemes to file their complaints.

Prospective car buyers are advised to undertake thorough due diligence checks before parting with their hard earned money.

Confirm vehicle ownership details and history, as well as details of the seller to avoid being swindled.

Request and review the seller’s identification documents including their Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin, a copy of the logbook and shipping documents for the vehicle if available.

With these details, one can use the eCitizen portal to establish details of the car’s history and ownership details.

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